Sunita Giri 11:23 PM |

Jamara is a vital part of our biggest festival Dashain, which is sown on the first day of ten long day festival. First day is called Ghatasthapana. We start this festival by planting jamara, which will be used on the tenth day of dashain.

As a child this was really big day for me, first day of long holidays and first day of big festival, first day of joy that nothing could give when we don't have to go to school. ‘Purano’ Dijju, as we call her with that kind of odd name. She was the oldest housemother [ not by age but by years she had spent ] in Bal Mandir, so we used to add that old in her calling name.

She was a newar woman by caste, not the kind that our conservative society accepted to do the puja room and allow her to do big days starting puja. But, she is the one who used to plant jamara every year in Bal Mandir and we used to watch her doing so. This process needed watering it every day twice in the morning and evening and at that time there used to be small puja work.

She used to lift each Chinese flowery printed white color bowl that was used to covered jamara and then water it religiously. She used to be so calm and serene, when she used to do this particular puja. She used to lift one by one the bowls and then water it individually and then after that she used to  put the lid again on the jamara. Normally, to get yellowish color jamara, it was must to keep it covered all day long, otherwise the color used to be green which lacked the festive effect in it.

Children were allowed to enter in this room to see while she performed puja, which lasted  a little more than ten minutes every day, which took place in the morning and evening. Each passing day, it used to grow faster and become taller and when she used to lift the lid we always used to go ooh and aah, not knowing how to react to that fast grow and the wonderful color of it which really mesmerized us.

Jamara is normally sown on the fine sand for special effect on it, instead of normal mud that we can get on earth for growing anything. I don't know, the specific reason behind it or why its done so, but its been going on for centuries may be.

Interestingly what I really don't know is, how the adults, who were so conservatives in their thinking about the caste system and the one who should perform puja or not, who should enter in the puja room reacted to this. More than that, did they [ especially the cooks who are mostly brahmins by caste ] accepted it as a prashad or not; did they put it on their head or not ?

I hope, dashain as a whole is festival for children, more than its for adult. Sure they make this easy, better and memorable for children in so many of their efforts and action. And with 200 children around to accept and put that jamara on our head at the big day of dashain, I never paid much attention to the fact whether some adult put that jamara on their head or not ? their number was so small than ours so minority thoughts or feelings may just have vanished in the majority of interest or feelings.

You see being a child is age of innocence and we don't pay much attention to the things that perplex adult or matters most to the adult than child.

It just feels good to be back in my memory lane and being child, that too in the festive seasons like Dashain.

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